Burna Boy & Wizkid's Grammy Wins, a Historic Moment for Afrobeats
Updated: Mar 16
What a night it was for Nigeria and Nigerians at the Grammys, two of the country's biggest artists, Wizkid & Burna Boy, won their first-ever Grammy Awards! They join Sikiru Adepoju as the only Nigerian artists to ever win a Grammy Award.
After his album, African Giant lost out to Angelique Kidjo at last years awards for the best World music album, Burna's Twice as Tall was the project that did it for him this time around as he beat Tuareg Desert Rock group Tinariwen, NYC Afrobeat band Antibalas, Brazilian-American Bebel Gilberto, and British-Indian sitar player Anoushka Shankar to the 2021 Grammy for the Best World Album; and in doing so becomes the first Nigerian artist to earn a Grammy for their own original work.
"This is a big win for my generation of Africans all over the world and this should be a lesson to every African out there, no matter where you are, no matter what you plan to do, and no matter where you're from you can achieve it because you're a king," Burna said in his acceptance speech.
Wizkid also got lucky at the second time of asking, his first nomination was as a part of Drake's 2017 release One Dance. The feature in Beyonce's video for Brown Skin Girl got Wizkid his first Grammy, emerging victorious over Life Is Good by Future featuring Drake, Lockdown by Anderson Paak, and Adore You by Harry Styles & Goliath Woodkid.
Femi Kuti, Made Kuti and Tiwa Savage were the other Nigerian artists who represented on the night. Their contributions to Coldplay's album got them nominations in the Best Recording Package and Album of the Year categories. Unluckily the album didn't win in either category. What is interesting to note is that even if the album won then the Nigerians would only receive a grammy certificate for their contributions and not a golden gramophone.
According to Vox:
"Generally, if you participated in creating a significant portion of the album (defined as at least 33 percent of its playing time), you get a golden gramophone."
The recording academy has come under a lot of criticism in recent times for not being inclusive enough and for their at times 'dodgy' awards process but the stigma surrounding this year's awards seemed to be relatively positive and inclusive with less controversy. The wins for Burna Boy and Wizkid will inspire a whole generation of younger African artists to follow in their footsteps. Burna Boy also got the opportunity to showcase a culturally inspired performance on the night.